HPC rides back of resources boom

Supercomputing on demand rises in WA

Western Australia's resource boom is filtering through to the rest of the economy in numerous ways, but one IT services company is cashing in on high-performance computing solutions.

Perth-based IT company ISA Technologies has launched a hosted IT services offering for the oil and gas industries which can leverage a 64-way IBM pSeries machine and two Intel-based clusters of 56 and 120 nodes, respectively.

Managing director of ISA Technologies Sil La Puma said the rapid development of the oil and gas industry in Western Australia requires increasing use of HPC technology infrastructure to support oil and gas exploration.

"ISA Technologies' HPC facilities feature almost 500 processors and ISA is looking to expand these facilities in 2007 through greater industry access to supercomputing on demand services," La Puma said.

The first customer to sign up for the HPC offering, which runs AIX and Linux, is the West Australian Department of Industry and Resources with a six-month deal. The department did not disclose the value of the deal, but confirmed it was in the "thousands of dollars" range.

ISA Technologies is hosting the service, which is being provided by oil and gas IT specialist Schlumberger.

Under the deal, ISA will host Schlumberger's Web-based LiveQuest offering at its Perth-based High Performance and Visualization Centre, which provides access to exploration and production applications like Geoframe and Eclipse.

WA Department of Industry and Resources' petroleum and royalties division general manager Mark Gabrielson said the hosted service means the department doesn't have to rely on its own internal resources.

"We are using the ISA [HPC] centre with Schlumberger as a pilot to use [ISA's] supercomputer for simulation work and to see if this is a cheaper way of using the software," Gabrielson said.

ISA is also completing a project to migrate seismic data for Woodside Energy Ltd, again with the aid of its HPC centre.

The seismic data is part of Woodside's oil and gas exploration efforts and supports the identification of future oil and gas fields.

- with Darren Pauli

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